COUNTRIES: Global
DURATION: 10/01/2015 - 02/29/2020
FUNDER: U.S. Department of State
CONTACTusldf@worldlearning.org

Program Description

Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) is a five-year leadership development initiative designed to advance civic engagement and social innovation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Over a five-year period, LDF aims to support more than 200 emerging civil society leaders from across the MENA region by providing an in-depth academic and practical opportunity to analyze complex challenges, re-examine interventions to address these challenges, and to seek ways to make positive social and economic changes in societies and communities by advancing existing activities or launching new initiatives. The program supports professionals who have demonstrated interest in addressing local challenges in their communities, several years of experience in civic and social innovation projects.

The LDF program has two mirrored tracks:

  • The Arabic track in Lebanon is designed for emerging leaders, who have advanced Arabic language proficiency, both written and spoken. This track is implemented in collaboration with the American University of Beirut’s Regional External Programs (AUB-REP).
  • The English track in the United States is designed for emerging leaders, who have advanced English language proficiency, both written and spoken. This track is implemented in collaboration with Duke Center for International Development (DCID).

For information on the the LDF Lebanon/Arabic Program please email lbldf@worldlearning.org

For information on the the LDF U.S./English Program please email usldf@worldlearning.org.

Countries: Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen

Program Goals

  • The program seeks to advance and empower civic engagement and social innovation leaders as well as reinforce linkages between U.S. and MENA counterparts and partners across the region.
  • The program aims to support Fellows acquire relevant skills to successfully implement initiatives to solve complex local, economic, environmental, political and social challenges affecting their community.

Program Cycle

Each year, Fellows join one of the LDF program’s tracks to engage in a four-week civic leadership academy and an eight-week professional practicum. To promote program sustainability and create a multiplier effect for civic engagement and social innovation, participants will be required to end the program with targeted leadership objectives and civic engagement plans in their home communities. These civic engagement and social innovation activities will be finalized throughout the course of the program.

Academic Learning

Each track of the LDF program begins with four weeks of academic learning, which includes coursework in theoretical areas of leadership, consensus-building, conflict resolution, communications, and advocacy. In addition, Fellows participate in visits to civic organizations and social innovation hubs, skill-development workshops and activities, and discussions with government and community leaders.

Professional Practicum

Following the academic component, Fellows engage is an eight-week practicum, which consists of full-time internships and professional enrichment seminars. During the practicum, Fellows are placed in internship host organizations aligned with their interest, experience, and plans where they apply their academic knowledge and professional experience in a practical setting. The professional practicum also offers opportunities for Fellows to build networks across countries, share resources and information, and collaborate on joint initiatives.

For more information visit:

Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Program Facebook Page

U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)